Donning their protective suits Thursday afternoon, seven Hall County middle school students trekked up Honey Bee Hill on the district’s new agribusiness property to help their hundreds of new buzzing friends settle into their new homes.
With the guidance of Zach Free, East Hall Middle agriculture teacher, they each pulled groups of honey bees from boxes and placed them into 20 hives.
Kylianne Brown, a student at North Hall Middle expressed both enthusiasm and slight apprehension for the new task at hand. Like most of her peers, she had never handled honey bees before. But, she was up for the challenge.
“I’m nervous, but it’s definitely an experience,” Kylianne said.
Bella Grier, who also attends North Hall Middle, swiftly finished transferring her first group of bees into a hive, noting that she found the activity fun.
“It’s not really scary when you have the suit on,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot. I think it’s really interesting how many are packed together in there.”
All of the hives were made by eighth graders at East Hall Middle, some of which assisted in the hive introduction on Thursday.
Hall County Schools honey bees
Although the bee farm is located in North Hall on 4339 Cleveland Highway, Free said it will become a system-wide effort.
“It’s meant for any school to come up here and learn about it,” he said.
Free intends to regularly monitor the hives with the hopes of having honey production in August. He anticipates most of the honey collection will happen next year when the bees become a well-established colony.
When the system starts gathering decent quantities of honey, Free said the plan is to use the product as a fundraiser for Hall’s agriculture programs, and also for buying more supplies to keep the hives functioning.
The bee hives are the first of many agricultural endeavors that will take place on the 51-acre property. The district intends to soon introduce beef cattle to the land, as well as chicken.
Morgan Conner, North Hall Middle agriculture education teacher, said she is happy that the system not only sees the importance of agriculture but is willing to expose its students to the field.
“I think there are so many more facets of agriculture that can be explored, and this is one of them,” she said. “Even if you're not super interested in honey bees, you can be in cattle or in chickens, or you can be interested in the business side of things. I think it’s really awesome to give those kids that opportunity.”